Car crashes after occupants take turns pulling emergency brake on freeway
SPRINGFIELD, Ore. (KVAL) — Two Lane County, Oregon men were arrested following a crash early Friday that sent one person to the hospital, Springfield Police Department reports.
Police say the driver of the car and his front seat passenger were taking turns pulling the emergency brake before the crash. The driver is suspected of being impaired at the time.
Springfield officers responded to the crash on the off-ramp of Highway 126 westbound at Mohawk Blvd.
According to the report, a 2004 Honda Accord, driven by a 26-year-old Springfield man, lost control as it exited the freeway and slid several hundred feet sideways until clipping a reflective shoulder marker.
That collision caused the Honda to spin backwards into the steel shoulder barrier, which collapsed the entire rear-end of the car, puncturing through the rear seat at an angle and forcing the rear passenger-side door open.
Police say the rear passenger was sitting behind the driver, likely saving his life. He was later transported to a hospital with a fractured back and laceration to his head.
Police say they then attempted to free the vehicle, but after close inspection from several angles, determined it was unlikely.
An officer arrived and the front-seat passenger, a 26-year-old Eugene man, fled, despite orders to stop. A short foot chase ensued and he was detained without incident, the report said.
The investigation revealed that the driver was impaired, police said.
"He and (the front seat passenger) were taking turns pulling the emergency brake while on the freeway trying to cause momentary slides," Springfield police said in a news release.
The off-ramp was closed for roughly 30 minutes while crews from multiple tow companies worked to free the car from the barrier.
The driver and the front seat passenger were both arrested and booked into the Springfield Municipal Jail. The driver is under investigation for DUI and reckless driving, while the passenger is under investigation for interfering with police and reckless endangering.
Police say additional charges are possible.